Volume 92, Issue 42
Wednesday, November 18, 1998
Women go down in dirt out West
© Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
By Jason Valentin
In their first trip as a team to the CIAU nationals, the Western women fell short of their goal, finishing out of the medals on the weekend at McGill.
The squad lost a shootout to host McGill 5-4 following a 1-1 tie and then sealed their fate with a loss to eventual second place finisher Victoria.
Still, the Mustang women did enter the nationals with optimism, according to head coach Sheri Kitching. "We were as prepared as we could have been mentally and physically, with a positive attitude and a desire to win."
This optimism was met by a string of negative circumstances which prevented the Mustangs from winning the championship.
The telling game for the team came against McGill. Kitching said the result ended up out of the hands of the players.
"Circumstances were against us," she said. "Injury time was too long, with McGill scoring in the last seconds to tie it."
With rain on both days, field conditions affected both teams' chances. "Field conditions played a huge factor and favoured a big strong team," said McGill's assistant coach Gayle Noble. "When Western had to play against Victoria, the wet and muddy field made it tough for them to play their game."
Western goalie Anna Grgic saw it very much the same way. "Victoria played a great game. There really wasn't anything we did wrong," she said. "They have a chance to play out there all year and we haven't played in too many games with rain here in Ontario, so I think it was to their advantage."
Though Kitching discounted the field conditions as a major factor in defeat, she said Western's opponents were able to dictate play. "Other teams dictated our style. Victoria did not allow us to get into our transition game that is so critical to our attack."
Noble said it is tough to say what the results of the tournament would have been under different conditions, but as they were, McGill finished fourth in the tournament, just ahead of the Mustangs.
The one thing Western is able to take home from this tourney is the learning experience. "None of us had been to the nationals before," Grgic commented. "Maybe this is something we have to go through to get to the next level."
The women hope to follow the model of Western's men's soccer team who failed at the national level in their first few tries before eventually winning this year.
"Our goal was the national championship. Just getting there this year has motivated us to achieve the same level next year," Kitchen said.
One bright spot for the Mustangs on the weekend came with co-captain Carmyn Aleshka's being named MVP of the McGill game.
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